Around 15 years back, there was so much optimism about Internet spreading its legs across every nation. The magical idea that we could share and bring in information from all around the globe was fascinating enough. To add to that glory, it also gave us an hope that people would become more tolerant, acceptive and appreciative of each other once they know about different cultures and ideas.
15 years down the lane, We are grateful to the Internet for many services and glory it has given us. The world is more connected than it was a decade back. We know more about different cultures today and we can literally boast of seeing new places without even setting foot outside our homes. However, not everything happened for “good” as we anticipated.
What went wrong?
It seems that the more we try to connect disparate people and thoughts, the more they are bound to clash. Instead of accepting cultures and ideas, people seem to repel it with extreme hatred. Hardening of divisions between different demographics of people, or even in the same demographic is pretty common these days. No one likes to accept or even listen to thoughts different from theirs.
The Internet does this to you in three steps:
- You read an opinion on the Internet to which you can relate the most. To feed your ego, you try to get more of it by reading similarly faced opinions until it becomes a “fact” in your head. It’s all immediately available to you, reinforcing your pre-existing beliefs and assumptions and making it harder to question them. Be it any political party you are supporting, or a movie star, you now are ready to defend them with your ears closed.
- The second step is to find like minded people to get your “belief” accepted by a major lot. And media plays an important role here too. The act of sharing most sensationalized and outrageous information possible is one thing media specializes in. Information is pruned not for validity or factual accuracy but for emotional response. And this is how they gain an important section of the audience making them even more stiff in their thoughts.
- The third step is to simply go out and fight your battle. Well, not literally! You sit on your laptop and try to defend your ego. You have your team to continuously back you up and shoot out words of hatred against anyone who doesn’t follow your line of thought. The worst part about this is we do not even get to see the person who is our enemy and hence we immediately think the worst about them.
THIS OUTRAGE IS GETTING ADDICTIVE MORE THAN EVER!
Not only does there seem to be more outrage happening in all sectors of society, but as you’ve probably noticed, this outrage seems to be constantly escalating. People are divided today more than ever with zero tolerance for an alternate idea. And the biggest problem about this outrage is that it’s highly addicting. We enjoy feeling a sense of superiority over others. That’s just human nature. We would always enjoy feeling great assuming we are on the right side of the coin never ever thinking how both sides have its own importance.
And then we have the opponent who would always feel as if they are victimized. An endless chain of information means they have enough options to continue feeling so. Their addiction comes in playing the victim game which gives them a sense of usefulness. Another typical human nature. These feelings might give us a pseudo feeling that we are getting a better world, but somehow it keeps getting worse.
Is there any way out?
The current course of actions is highly saddening and discomforting and the chances of this getting better seem very bleak. However hard it may look like, there could be a way out.
Humans are highly influenced by things they see around them. Unfamiliar things keep getting viral on the Internet for the same reason. And if this is the case, positive psychology may come to the rescue. What if everyone you meet on the Internet greets you and accepts you for what you are? This may sound like a distant possibility but it’s attainable. Let’s just agree how everything in the virtual world is so immature right now. And it makes sense. It has not been here for a long time.
And there is the silver lining. Things will get better eventually. And we all can act as a catalyst here by positive treatment. I have previously talked about how love is the best example of the butterfly effect. Let’s use this principle here too. Treat everyone you meet on the Internet with respect and love. Be open to new ideas and thinking. It’s always good to have a healthy debate where you feel the need to, but hatred has never been an answer to anything.
Doing the maths, If you start being nice to 5 persons in a day, you would have made an impact on those 5 minds. Out of those 5, if even 3 starts doing the same thing, this series of love and tolerance would go on. Your individual effort is enough to change a lot. Don’t wait for others. Start yourself and others will follow. In the end, we would all want to see a happy and prosperous world.